Articles

Back to List
Previous Article:
Putting A Cap On Catabolic Cortisol
Next Article:
How NOT To Train Your Back!

How Vibration Therapy Helps Athletes

You Should Try It Yourself!

Posted by Flux - March 14th, 2019
3

Did you know that the ancient Greeks were the first people to use localized vibration therapy? The original vibration therapy device was a vibrating saw and a piece of wood that was placed over the top of a Greek soldier’s wound. Upon sawing the wood, fluids and stagnant blood drained faster, which promoted natural healing mechanisms in the body. Localized vibration therapy has come a long way since the time of the Ancient Greeks however and today is used by any and all types of athletes - including Crossfitters, Powerlifters, Bodybuilders and Runners. Vibration therapy can help ease a variety of conditions and injuries, as well as aid in the post-workout recovery process to help reduce the effects of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).


What Is Modern Localized Vibration Therapy?

As mentioned, localized vibration therapy has come a long way since the Ancient Greeks. Today, devices – such as the Sidekick FLUX Vibration Therapy Massage Ball – mean you don’t need any sort of crude sawing to realize the benefits of vibration. Now, you simply apply a moderate amount of pressure to the affected muscle and, unlike a foam roller, you don’t necessarily need to roll over the device. The device simply vibrates – sending sound waves through the nearby muscle tissues. These vibrations cause the muscles to contract, then relax. Consequently, your muscles experience increased blood flow, improved range of motion (ROM), and reduced DOMS.


What Conditions Does Localized Vibration Therapy Help?

Scientists have explored the use of vibration therapy for a variety of conditions. These conditions include:


● Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

● Muscle Strains

● Muscle Tears

● Bone Fractures

● Arthritis

● And Many More


Let’s dive into how different aspects of localized vibration therapy contribute to relieving symptoms associated with the above conditions, as well as how vibration therapy can help improve your athletic performance. Research shows that localized vibration therapy helps athletes in 4 main ways…


1. It Increases Blood Flow

Good blood circulation is important for delivering nutrients and other cells throughout the body. It ensures proper functioning, repair, and recovery. Yet sometimes blood flow isn’t as efficient as it could be. Vibration therapy fixes this problem. A 2011 study explored the use of whole vibration therapy in spinal cord injury patients at a frequency setting of 20 Hertz and above. The study found that when vibration therapy was applied for 2 or 3 minutes, blood flow in the patients’ legs improved. Researchers also noticed increased muscle activation. From these findings, they concluded that vibration therapy may prove useful in rehabilitation for spinal cord injuries – especially for reducing muscle wasting and increasing muscular strength. But what exactly is going on here?



The soundwaves from vibration therapy cause muscle contractions and relaxation. Each time a muscle contracts then relaxes, blood flow increases to the muscle. With increased blood flow, nutrients and cells required for repair are brought in. Furthermore, the muscle contractions help maintain and improve muscle strength, helping to prevent muscle wasting.


This increase in blood flow can further aid in injury recovery and post-workout soreness by allowing the body to bring the necessary nutrients and cells required for the repair of the injury which can speed up the process of repairing a muscle tear or strain. Since the necessary building blocks for your muscles are provided through the bloodstream, with increased blood flow, these building blocks can reach the site faster, along with any other cells required to help repair the injured area.


The same concept can be applied to post-workout soreness. Increased blood flow brings the necessary compounds to help heal the small micro-tears created by intense exercise. In addition, the blood filters out the toxins and by-products caused by exercise, allowing you to recover faster.


2. It Aids In Muscle Growth

Vibration therapy may improve your muscle strength and growth. However, a training plan consisting of weightlifting and a proper diet is also necessary to see any gains. In another 2011 study, researchers concluded that vibration therapy improved muscle strength in the tested group of older adults. As we age, we lose lean muscle mass – which is why it’s crucial to partake in a regular exercise routine, such as Crossfit, Bodybuilding, or another weightlifting program. When combined with exercise, vibration therapy may enhance the muscle building process – especially as we age. Other researchers developed a 24-week program involving vibration therapy and found it increased bone density. These studies suggest that using vibration therapy as part of your regular exercise and healthcare routine can vastly increase your chances of healthy aging, leading to a decreased risk of osteoporosis or other muscle and bone-related diseases.


3. It May Help Relieve Muscle Soreness

After an intense exercise session, you might notice you feel even sorer after 24-72 hours. DOMS is caused by small tears in your muscle tissue created during your exercise session. A day or 2 later, you might feel pain and discomfort and moving the affected muscle might be difficult. A 2014 study explored how vibration therapy can reduce the discomforts caused by DOMS. Researchers determined that vibration therapy might not only help manage DOMS, but also prevent it. How? By increasing the proprioceptive neuromuscular function, improving muscle strength, and reducing pain due to a specific hormonal response. This hormonal response also leads to increased fluid drainage and an improved mood. All around, it makes you feel better.


4. It Decreases Pain

From the above evidence and studies, we can conclude that localized vibration therapy also helps reduce pain. The study on DOMS and vibration therapy showed these results. The vibrations disrupt the pain signals that are sent from your body to your brain, and as a result, you feel less discomfort or pain.



How It Improves Your Athletic Performance

Vibration therapy mainly improves athletic performance by improving post-workout recovery. The faster and better you recover, the more you can do. It also has the potential to lower your risk of injury. This prevents setbacks and keeps you on track toward your fitness goals. And as previously mentioned, it may boost your muscle growth and bone density, all of which contribute to optimal health. In turn, your athletic performance may improve. Vibration therapy has also been shown to increase range of motion and flexibility. A 2006 study explored how vibration therapy can improve the range of motion in the hamstring muscles. The group that used vibration therapy over 4 weeks had a 30% increase in hamstring ROM. The control group that did not use vibration therapy – but used stretching exercises for 4 weeks – had only a 14% increase in hamstring ROM.


This means that vibration therapy is also useful following an injury. If you’ve ever experienced an ankle sprain (which most of us have), you’ve likely noticed decreased mobility in your affected ankle. This reduced ROM is common following many injuries. Thus, localized vibration therapy may help to dramatically improve your ROM after an injury, while also helping to prevent injuries caused by a lack of flexibility. In other words, localized vibration therapy keeps your joints strong and flexible, which ultimately improves your performance.


Should You Start Using Localized Vibration Therapy?

Localized vibration therapy is a great addition to your workout toolkit. However, if you’re recovering from a recent injury, we recommend discussing your options with your doctor or healthcare provider to determine if it is the right method for you. If you have not recently experienced an injury, localized vibration therapy can be an excellent addition to your post-workout recovery, your cooldowns, and your warm-ups.


How does it contribute to a proper warm-up? Vibration therapy increases blood flow and causes muscle contractions – meaning it can be an effective way to ease into your next workout and help prepare your body for exercise. Researchers explored this concept with golfers. The golfers utilized vibration therapy during their warm-up. The result? The golfers had increased flexibility and power output. Ultimately, using vibration therapy as part of your warm-up has the potential to further increase your athletic performance.


How Do You Use A Localized Vibration Therapy Device?

Frequently, these devices are in the shape of a ball. This allows you to easily sit on it, or

position yourself against a wall to use it. Many devices come with a range of frequencies. Choose one that feels the best for you and your muscles. Like a foam roller, you want to apply moderate pressure to the targeted muscle with the vibration therapy ball. The major difference is that you don’t have to roll back and forth or side to side. You can if you want, but you don’t have to. Although, by rolling on the ball, you also get the benefits of myofascial release. Again, do what feels best for you. Ideally, try to use the ball for 2 or more minutes on each affected area. If you are new to these tools, try 1 minute to start, see how you feel, then adjust as necessary.


Only place the device on soft tissue. This means avoiding bony prominences and the spine. Like foam rolling, it should feel like a good pain on the muscle you’re targeting. If it doesn’t feel quite right, consider adjusting your position. If the pain persists and isn’t your usual muscle soreness, book an appointment with your doctor. You may have an injury. And it’s important to take the proper care to ensure a speedy and smooth recovery. Improve your flexibility, muscle strength, post-workout recovery, and injury recovery through the use of vibration therapy. If you suffer from DOMS, consider a vibration massage therapy device like the Sidekick Flux. It can get you through those tough days after intense workouts.



Conclusion

The Ancient Greeks were onto something. And if it was good enough for them, it’s good enough for you. Start unlocking your movement and athletic performance potential today!



Share this article on:
CHECK OUT MORE GREAT ARTICLES BELOW!
Fasted Cardio For More Fat Loss?

You’ve done it. Even I’ve done it. It seems like almost everyone in the bodybuilding/fitness community has tried it at least once...

The Truth About Detoxing!

After a chaotic, indulgent weekend involving greasy, deep-fried food and alcohol, Monday comes around and you feel compelled to...

MEMBER COMMENTS